Developers are a unique breed. They often have very particular — or peculiar, depending on your interpretation — work habits. There are times when they don’t want to be interrupted. But there are also times when they welcome distractions or feedback. When interacting with your developers, you don’t want to do anything that will make the relationship you have with any of your developers awkward or strained. Keep the following tips in mind as you manage your developer relationships to make the building experience more productive for everyone involved.
Look for Opportunities When Interaction Is Appreciated
Developers can be easily distracted sometimes, so they tend to wear headphone to eliminate distractions. Consequently, headphones make developers happy. Even so, there are times when a developer gets bored with what they’re doing and starts giving hints they need some social interaction. This doesn’t mean you have to be a psychologist or anything. Just pay attention for signs that they need a break and engage in some non-project talk. Occasional social interactions are also an excellent opportunity to ease the formality of your relationships with your developers.
Don’t Seek Opinions for New Feature Ideas
Of course, developers have opinions when it comes to product features, especially when those features are on something they know they’ll have to build. If you get a sudden burst of inspiration about a new feature, it’s best to keep it to yourself — or, at least, save it for something to consider as a future update to your product. To be fair, some developers will shoot down a new feature idea because it’s something that will affect how the rest of your design functions. Different times, however, they’ll discourage you because it means more work for them. It doesn’t mean you have to walk on eggshells around your developers. Use your best judgment to determine if your idea is essential enough to disrupt their workflow.
Offload Some of Your Urgent Needs to Your Developers
You don’t want to bother developers with little things. But developers tend to have a different attitude when it comes to something you need ASAP. You may end up in a situation where you need a quick update to a report or a few projections on cost or other details related to your product. Instead of stressing, go ahead and ask one of your developers to lend a hand. The odds are good they’ll immediately get it done if it’s an urgent request within their capabilities. The same is often true if you have a small side project that’s a little too demanding for you to complete by the deadline.
Get an Idea of How Long Development Tasks Will Take to Complete Based On Results You’re Seeing
It’s not always easy to estimate the turnaround time once your developers are hard at work. However, if you’re noticing it’s taking a few hours to complete development tasks, this probably means your developers will keep up this pace as your project advances. It’s likely to be true if you have features with similar development demands. Of course, there are always exceptions. Be reasonable enough to expect particularly demanding tasks to be more time-consuming.
Know When to Adjust Work Plans
Developers sometimes get bored with their assignments. It’s human nature. Unfortunately, it can also slow things down. When developers cannot concentrate, they’re probably not super motivated. If you notice these signs happening, make an effort to switch things up and adjust your plans. For instance, if you have a challenging task you were planning to present to your developer later, go ahead and have them tackle it when they’re starting to get bored. Another option is to mix up your list of daily tasks and priorities (as long as you can do so without affecting the development progress) every few days.
Share Your Programming Expertise
Not all non-developers are devoid of technical know-how. If you happen to have some programming background, let your developers know that. It would be more efficient to work with them if they could explain things in a more native programming way. But don’t offer your solution to a problem because you are not as experienced as the developers and your suggestions could sometimes be seen as pressure, which doesn’t do any good to product development.
Offer Advice On Languages and Frameworks
As part of your research, you may discover that your primary competitors are using different languages or frameworks for their products. If this is the case, offer a heads-up to your developers if they’re using various options with their iOS or Android apps. Try to do this early in the development process to avoid unexpected delays and headaches.
Arrange In-Person Meetings
Don’t get in the habit of shooting your developers emails if you have a need to discuss something. Most developers aren’t too fond of emails and chat features. Instead, arrange an in-person meeting to discuss the matter. Being in a meeting or conference rooms gives developers access to enough space to work out their thoughts or share ideas with you. Plus, they’ll have instant access to markers and boards they can use to help visualize your problem and explain their solutions.
By keeping these tips in mind, you should be able to enjoy successful and productive relationships with your developers. Remember, your developers have unique personalities. So, take some time to develop a better understanding of their work habits and preferences for interaction. If you’re respectful and thoughtful about how you interact with any of your developers, you’re more likely to benefit from results tailored to your needs and expectations. Ultimately, keeping your developers happy should make your intended customers equally happy when your product launches.